WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court delivered final opinions of the term today, striking down President Joe Biden‘s student loan forgiveness program and limiting the rights of LGBTQ Americans.
The court voted 6-3 decision in favor of Missouri in the case Missouri v. Biden but in Department of Education v. Brown, the court found the plaintiffs don’t have standing. The decision by the court means the program will not go into effect.
The court ruled that the program was an unlawful exercise of presidential power because it was not approved by Congress.
“The Secretary asserts that the HEROES Act grants him the authority to cancel $430 billion of student loan principal. It does not. We hold today that the Act allows the Secretary to ‘waive or modify’ existing statutory or regulatory provisions applicable to financial assistance programs under the Education Act, not to rewrite that statute from the ground up,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote.
The plan would have allowed eligible borrowers to cancel up to $20,000 in debt and cost over $400 billion.
“This builds on the Fiscal Responsibility Act’s end to the payment pause. The President must follow the law, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a tweet as he reacted to the news.
“This fight is not over. I will have more to announce when I address the nation this afternoon,” Biden said in a statement.
“The hypocrisy of Republican elected officials is stunning,” he added. “They had no problem with billions in pandemic-related loans to businesses – including hundreds of thousands and in some cases millions of dollars for their own businesses. And those loans were forgiven. But when it came to providing relief to millions of hard-working Americans, they did everything in their power to stop it.”
The court’s second ruling of the day saw the justices rule in favor of baker Lorie Smith, saying as a professional under the Constitution’s First Amendment to refuse to endorse messages she disagrees with. This means she cannot be punished in the state of Colorado for refusing to help an LGBTQ couple with website design services.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the decision “heartbreaking” in her dissent, which was joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson.
“Around the country, there has been a backlash to the movement for liberty and equality for gender and sexual minorities,” the dissent read. “New forms of inclusion have been met with reactionary exclusion. This is heartbreaking. Sadly, it is also familiar. When the civil rights and women’s rights movements sought equality in public life, some public establishments refused. Some even claimed, based on sincere religious beliefs, constitutional rights to discriminate. The brave Justices who once sat on this Court decisively rejected those claims.”
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote, “At the same time, this Court has also recognized that no public accommodations law is immune from the demands of the Constitution. In particular, this Court has held, public accommodations statutes can sweep too broadly when deployed to compel speech.”